One of the eight suspects charged in the robbery and murder of a Florida couple known for adopting children with special needs knew one of the victims because he had given him money, the Pensacola News Journal reported Monday.
Documents revealed that Leonard Patrick Gonzalez Jr. told authorities that he knew Byrd Billings because he gave him money to help open a martial arts studio, according to documents obtained by the newspaper.
Byrd Billings and his wife Melanie, were found shot to death in their bedroom on July 9. They were parents to 17 children, 13 of them adopted, and owned several local businesses, including a finance company and a used-car dealership. They lived in Beulah, a rural area west of Pensacola, near the Alabama state line, in a house set deep in the woods.
Authorities were planning to interview three persons of interest to figure out who, if anyone, was supposed to disable a surveillance system at the Billings home on the night of the murders.
Surveillance video helped lead to the arrest of eight people in the case. Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said Sunday that officials are looking for another person who was supposed to disable the system before the couple was killed.
One of the three people of interest may have been responsible for disabling the cameras, The Associated Press reported.
Also on Monday, a hearing was set to determine whether one of the suspects in the case, 28-year-old Donald Stallworth, can be extradited to Florida. Stallworth was arrested in Alabama.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.